Barnet, of England’s League Two, have a playing field which is notoriously not level. Games at Underhill, where Arsenal’s reserves also play, can make for entertaining goal-fests but the slope means it sometimes ‘just isn’t cricket’, let alone football.

There is also something clearly surreal about Madhur matka the Kaka saga, whose intricacies have dominated soccer talk this week like a high-profile trial. Because money talks, the deal is more likely to happen than not as long as Sheikh Mansour Togelplonks his loose change on the table, drunk on the dream.

The latest news appears to imply Kaka will be staying at the San Siro, after unsuccessful negotiations in Milan, but City will not give up until their self-imposed deadline of the 28th of January passes. They have too much money not to throw around.

It may be hard for us recessive Europeans to grasp, but Arabs really do have money to burn. In my other job, I meet many a sheikh and an oligarch so Roman Abramovich and Sheikh Mansour’s playboy approaches to football do not shock me. As sweet as it is to see Silvio Berlusconi and Roman Abramovich eating humble pie, this transfer is still the wrong move.

In favour of the move are feelings that AC Milan deserve some of their own medicine after plundering other clubs for years and that Manchester City’s defeat-hardened fans deserve a chance of success for once.

But another crazy-money capture only adds to the too-easily dismissed arguments for a salary cap across UEFA.

Kaka himself may have been in tears this weekend, but his paymasters, AC Milan chief Adriano Galliani and de facto boss Silvio Berlusconi, appear to be ushering him out the door with Euro signs in their eyes. There is nothing illegal about Milan selling their ace, but it breaks unwritten laws of football.

The fact City are four points from the drop zone of challenging for Europe makes this Abu Dhabian folly impossible for the true fan to accept. More than Alf Common’s record-smashing four-figure move in 1905, more even than the Russian revolution at Chelsea -“Terremoto (Earthquake) Abramovich”, as La Gazzetta dello Sport called it, Kaka’s move to Manchester has upset the natural order of the Beautiful Game.

Leave aside the fact that the Brazilian’s salary and transfer fee are obscene at a time of depression in England, and televised suffering elsewhere in the world: In purely footballing terms, this is a bad deal. Unlike Chelsea, Champions League qualifiers and one of England’s top teams when Roman Abramovich’s yacht dropped anchor in 2003, Manchester City remain real underachievers.

Advertisement